When we first got eyes on Keanu Reeves as John Wick back in 2014, few could have expected that this character would help spur the larger world and massive franchise we have today. The story all started so simply. It was just a widower who was avenging the death of his dog, and the theft of his car which led him to waging war on the Russian mafia. The flick was a fun romp that ended up opening a huge, and layered story that has seen two sequels with a couple of more on the way. And along with those movies, there will also be a John Wick series as well, one that will give even more context to the set of films. Let’s take a look at what we already know about this John Wick series and what to expect when it finally hits the screen.
IS KEANU REEVES IN THE JOHN WICK SERIES?
This is the operative question to start: is Keanu Reeves going to make an appearance as John Wick in this John Wick series? At this point, the answer looks like a pretty easy, “no”. At least to start that is. The way the story is shaping up, it doesn’t look like the timeline for the show would include Reeves. This is interesting for the overall franchise seeing as how they are going to be less reliant on the titular character going forward. It’s a testament to the world that they’ve created around Wick, specifically the inner workings of the group of assassins that have ended up becoming the baseline for the movies.
IF NO REEVES, WHAT IS THE JOHN WICK SERIES ABOUT?
The John Wick series is tentatively titled The Continental, a reference to the hotel that many an assassin has made their home in the first few movies. It’s where contract killers can visit, an assassin’s Switzerland as it were, that has its own set of rules around the world. They can go there to take a respite, not kill anyone, and maybe feel a bit safer in confines that are a little less deadly. There is more than one hotel location in this assassin world, though the first one we see is found in Lower Manhattan and run, in the movies by Winston. He’s played by the great Ian McShane.
The new series will be a prequel to the John Wick franchise, taking place in the 1970s with a younger version of Winston as one of the main characters. From some early notes about the series, it looks like they will take a bit of historical context from the era, especially the happenings of New York City to help provide some of the series backdrops.
With the John Wick franchise working harder to include a bigger, worldbuilding view, they’ve also begun to take care in how the places are important here. This new series will expand on that idea by going back in time to give a sense of place in how The Continental came to be, especially the iteration we know from the movies. Apparently, it will follow the young Winston as he works to take over the hotel for his own. Lionsgate head Kevin Beggs said of the show that they are exploring, “how it came to be that he (Winston) and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel, which we have met for the first time in the movie franchise 40 years later…”
WHO IS STARRING IN THE CONTINENTAL?
The biggest name we know now associated with the John Wick series is one Mr. Mel Gibson. Deadline announced the casting a few weeks ago that Gibson was taking a starring role in the series. He will play a character named Cormac, though it isn’t clear exactly how he fits into the larger story. It will be a prominent role of course and it could stand to reason that he plays the antagonist in this one. Considering his age, it’s likely he is either the head of one of the criminal enterprises running in New York at the time or more likely, closely associated with The Continental itself.
The other star of the John Wick series will be Colin Woodell. We do know something about his character already. He will be playing the younger version of Winston Scott who is coming on to the assassin scene. A brief description of the show has been released saying that Winston “charts a deadly course through New York’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the iconic hotel, which serves as the meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals.”
Other casting decisions have been made as well with Hubert Point-Du Jour, Jessica Allain, Mishel Prada, Nhung Kate, and Ben Robson joining on in short order after Woodell and Gibson were announced.
WHO IS THE CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THE CONTINENTAL?
The concept and vision around the original John Wick movie were from a script by Derek Kolstad. Kolstad has gone on to help pen the second and third movies as well. He is taking a step back for the fourth and fifth movies though with other screenwriters brought in to finish off the story. And in terms of stylistic choices, a lot of that has been from director Chad Stahelski who’s helmed the first three movies in the franchise and is on board for John Wick 4 and 5 too. Stahelski and Kolstad are both on as producers for The Continental and have been crucial in bringing it to series.
As far as the showrunner is concerned, that’s going to be Chris Collins. While the John Wick series is his first run in the big chair for a whole show, he has plenty of high-profile work under this belt already. He’s directed episodes in Sons of Anarchy and Man in the High Castle, while also working in smaller roles on shows like The Wire and The Sopranos.
WHERE AND WHEN CAN I WATCH THE JOHN WICK SERIES?
The John Wick franchise is owned by Lionsgate which controls Starz. The John Wick series will air on that service on their streaming app. This will be a bit different than traditional series orders though. The tentative plan is to air it as three episodes, each at a feature-length movie timing of 90 minutes. From this perspective, it’s almost fair to call it a movie trilogy rather than a show. But in the new world order of content, the rules around categories for different productions are constantly changing and adapting. The John Wick series appears to very much straddle that line in how it will approach the story.
Currently, the timeline for the John Wick series, The Continental, is for it to hit Starz sometime in the spring of 2022. With casting decisions all but wrapped up here, we should be getting even more news in short order.